Sunday dinner in Orthez
Here is a portrait of a farm raised chicken that I recently roasted for a Sunday dinner while spending time in France. This tasty critter was raised, free range and natural, on a farm just outside of Orthez that also raises ducks, pigeons and guinea hens (well, the pigeons probably have some limits on their movements so not totally free range).
This bird was the first time I was able to try out the new oven at our house, so I was prepared for a little trial and error; it always takes a few essays to master the idiosyncrasies of a new oven. No need to have worried though, the oven performed exactly as I would have hoped.
Note also the smaller breast on this bird, which I find to be a feature of French chickens as compared to American birds. Here is a photo of an roasted chicken at Le Pichet…by comparison, the American chicken looks almost round. I assume that the difference is the breed of chickens raised.
This is not a problem (unless you really have a preference for white meat over dark!) but it does make necessary a slightly different roasted method. I roasted this chicken in a slightly cooler oven than I would usually do (425 F instead of 500 F) and basted very often with a lot of butter, thinking that the leaner meat might need longer cooking time to tenderize. I also tossed the giblets in the roasted pan 10 minutes before the end of the roasting time (because I love the giblets!).
Man that was a tasty bird…served just with just a spoonful of the butter from the pan. The accompaniment is green chard sauteed with garlic, piment d’Espelette and a splash of red vinegar and a good bottle of petite chateau Bordeaux. The “after” photo says it all.